Bradley James Joins Run Free
Updated: Jun 5
We are proud to announce that local footballer Bradley James has joined the Run Free team as our first official brand ambassador!
Run Free are delighted to announce Bradley James as their first ambassador.
Bradley was previously a part of the youth set up at Colchester United, before going on to play for Heybridge Swifts, Halstead and Clacton. Now plying his trade at non-league football club Little Oakley, he recently hit the headlines with his mental health struggles, and is thrilled to now be part of the Run Free set up.
"... football was pretty much what got me through most weeks"
“I absolutely love the idea of what Run Free are doing,” said Bradley.
“It’s just such a great project and such a great idea. I couldn’t not be involved with it because this will be so good for so many people. What RunFree wants to do with getting the message out there is exactly what I want to do as well. I also think spreading this as far as we can is really exciting for all of us.”
With a blanket ban on football during the coronavirus pandemic, not being able to play football hit Bradley hard. “Before the lockdown, football was pretty much what got me through most weeks,” said Bradley, 24. "Knowing that I had a game at the weekend gave me something to focus on throughout the week. Not knowing when my next game would be and having that light at the end of the tunnel was difficult for me.”
"... talking to other people has been a good way to support myself and to help others as well"
As a result, Bradley’s mental health started to suffer and he made plans to end his own life. Thankfully, Bradley’s friends were able to contact his brother in time to stop him taking action. Since opting to go public about his struggles, Bradley has been overwhelmed with the sheer volume of support. “It sounds ridiculous but it’s been absolutely mad since the story went out; my lockdown had been quite quiet and not much was going on. I wasn’t really doing anything but since the story I’ve been really busy. People have been trying to help me out and keep me busy and others have wanted to talk about what they’re going through as well.”
It is exactly those conversations that have helped Bradley to start feeling stronger. He goes on to say: “I’ve found that talking to other people has been a good way to support myself and to help others as well. Before that I was in my lowest place ever and I felt like I had no purpose so talking to people has been great.”
"I think I speak for the three of us when I say we're looking forward to the future!"
Bradley will now be helping others as part of Run Free and Chris Phillips – who founded Run Free alongside Eddy Cooper, is delighted to have Bradley on board. “We couldn’t have a better first ambassador than Bradley,” said Chris. “He’s been really brave to come forward and tell his story which was something that really resonated with Eddy and me. He shares similar views to us and, straight away, you can tell he’s a great guy. We look forward to working with him in all aspects of the Run Free project.”
Eddy added to Chris' comments stating "Bradley has shown a tremendous amount of courage in going public with his story and its a testament to his strong character. I think myself and Chris are really buzzing for Run Free to get going, and Bradley seems to share that enthusiasm. Bradley's involvement is another exciting aspect, and I think I speak for the three of us when I say we're looking forward to the future!"